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Courtesy of @jasminavico

Meet the woman using cutting edge laser technology to transform skincare

Skincare expert and laser specialist Jasmina Vico discusses her treatments and how technological developments are radically redefining the beauty landscape

Growing up in Rijeka, a port city that once belonged to Yugoslavia, Jasmina Vico learned from a young age to think about skin health. “We had a communist government,” she says “so our focus was more on health and food as opposed to money and career.” Despite a happy upbringing, Vico felt her options were limited and was hungry for more. Having a twin sister led to an interest in science and biology, and a greater understanding of how humans work, while her discovery of David Lynch, Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet led to an interest in surreal beauty and aesthetics.

Following a course in cosmetology at college and assisting various dermatologists, she moved to London with two suitcases and £30 in her pocket. After a couple of years training in laser therapy, in 2015, Vico set up her own practice where she combines holistic and high-tech treatments, including her renowned signature VicoGlow Laser treatment, which is all about stimulating collagen production and elasticity, resulting in firmer skin.

“I’m naturally super interested in people and neuroscience, but also where the future will take us - in all aspects,” she says. “The potential of artificial intelligence and other scientific research really drives me and keeps me interested in my job.” Here, she talks going beyond the surface and how technological developments are radically redefining the beauty landscape.

How did growing up in Croatia shape your understanding of skincare and beauty?
Most of the food we had growing up was locally produced and as a result often organic and high quality. This, coupled with my mum constantly drilling into my sister and I that we should “stay outside of the sun” and “wear a hat when you leave the house” were probably the main factors that led to me to living a health conscious and skin aware lifestyle from a young age, without actually realising it. I remember telling a friend of mine to let her “skin breathe”, that was at the age of seven. But I think I really started to get interested in skin at the age of 12 or 13. I’ve always been fascinated by it, how it separates us from each other, contains our individuality, and the complexity of how we age.

What’s the biggest misconception about skincare?
I believe in a back-to-basics approach – that means no unnecessary use of products. I don’t simply offer treatments but instead educate my clients, equipping them with knowledge as well as helping to treat areas of concern. It’s important to remember the strong connection between gut health and skin. There’s a difference between skin that purely appears to be healthy and skin that really is healthy from the inside. Lacklustre skin is often a reflection of your diet. As a general rule, the more green in your diet the better. Vitamin C and Omega 3 ingredients are also great. Avoid foods high in fat and too many sweets which tend to break you out. The worst thing you can do to your skin is neglect it. Your skin really never forgets sunburn so make sure you prevent skin damage from an early age.

What is your personal skincare routine?
Aside from sufficient sleep and hydration, I always wash my face with cold water and then give myself a lymph drainage massage to help kick-start circulation. I follow this by applying a vitamin CE serum and SPF. Twice a week I don’t put anything on my skin at night as a small detox to help reset my skin. My best beauty hack is to use a Vitamin A cream.

Has the advancement of lasers changed the landscape of skincare?
Lasers are the future of the industry because they can achieve better results than other equipment. They reach tissue in the skin that topical products can’t and therefore can target skin conditions such as red veins and pigmentation in a manner that is precise and effective. There’s a common misconception that lasers only help with one specific area, but they actually can help different problems at the same time. There are more sophisticated lasers, which are more effective and require less recovering time, currently being used by surgeons. I think in the future these will become more accessible and available to us.

How do you think future technology will revolutionise the beauty industry?
I think we’ll start to see more home gadgets, robots, and beautifying apps. There are many beauty apps already on the market and they will become even more important in our daily lives as the transhuman movement, which blurs the line between the digital and physical worlds, progresses. We will be given the chance to design ourselves – a new self – with a wide choice of apps and filters. We can now have better skin, be slimmer, more radiant as well as apply virtual make up. I believe online skin scanners will play a major role in the skin health, and monitor your skin changes daily. Apps will alert you to when your skin is going through changes or decreasing in collagen products which arguably, could be a positive thing. I see it reminding you to buy or order skincare on your list or even book an appointment with your practitioner. There will be a device to go with it to measure hydration levels in your skin as well as supplements, similar to devices that diabetics use. We’ve also been seeing a lot of research going into stem cells. I predict this research will continue to be developed and as a result, we will soon be able to print our own stem cells via 3D printers, store them, and reuse them.

How will this affect existing beauty ideals?
Beauty ideals are constantly evolving and in the future they will move even faster and more frequently. Individualism will be the next big beauty trend after the backlash that will come from everyone chasing the same beauty ideals that we are seeing at the moment.

Do you think the rise of beautifying apps and selfie culture has shaped our perception of beauty?
I can definitely see the increase in people looking for more altered looks. For example, lips have become the breasts of the 90s. You don’t even have to have lips 'done', now you can make them bigger and more symmetrically shaped in a beauty app. This look is now seen as the new normal. So naturally apps will encourage you to go for the real treatment eventually, at much larger cost than the app filter. Blemish free, even skin tone is another desired skin alteration in real life. Healthy skin is associated with health and wealth plus youthfulness.

How do you see this affecting people in the long run?
In the long run, these beauty apps may have a lot to answer for in terms of mental health and body dysmorphia. At the moment they are encouraged and applauded – after all it creates a financial platform for many youthful hopefuls to become beauty advertisements for beauty brands. At what cost? Apps can photoshop and airbrush anything these days, but if your online persona doesn’t match real one, is that genuine? You may become more reclusive in the long run as your online and real life are two different people.

What do you think people will look like in 30 years?
In 30 years, I believe people will by divided into two groups: those who join the transhuman movement and seek to live longer, and those who don’t. I think that we’ll see more identity changes and we’ll be able to swap from male to female and vice versa. 

What is the future of beauty?
The future of beauty is digitalisation and the role of the face will change altogether due to facial recognition technology. Soon our faces will be too closely linked to data and we will have to hide behind masks, choosing carefully when, where, and to whom we reveal our true face. This will impact the beauty industry massively and as a result, beauty will become about much more than just “a pretty face.”